Passion and Partnership

I love my partner, but I have never had some sort of earth-shattering passion for her. We had the normal “new relationship energy” when we met, but our relationship developed along unconventional grounds. We were a one-night stand and then we didn’t see each other for about three months because I was on a cross-country bike ride. We texted (and probably sexted) a bit, but there was nothing particularly emotional about it. When I arrived in Los Angeles, the city she had recently moved to, we became friends with benefits but both still dated other people. Eventually, over time, we realized that we had a lot of important things in common and our relationship grew into what we are today.

I’ve had strong passion for people in the past (particularly when I was a teenager and in my early 20’s), but those relationships were almost always bad ones. The passion and fire to be with a person blinded me to how incompatible we were and how abusive the relationship was. Passion is often illogical and it prevents us from making decisions that are good for us. I think we all have said at some point in our life (or know someone who has said), “I know we aren’t good together but I love them so much!” or “I know this can’t work long term but I love them!” or “I know they don’t treat me well but I love them!”. If the only thing that is keeping two (or more) people together is a passionate love then that relationship should probably end. Passion is the worst reason to stay with a person.

My partner may have more passion for me than I do for her, but that would be okay. There is nothing about a relationship that needs to be a 100% equal exchange. In fact, it is probably dangerous to shoot for that or to “keep score”. If both people are happy and getting what they need then the actual acts are unimportant, there can be an inequality in the number of times someone washes the dishes, says I love you, gives oral sex, buys gifts, feels passion, etc., as long as everyone is feeling satisfied and can communicate their desires.

So, I don’t have that passion that poets speak of for my wife, but I do love her. I miss her when she is gone. I long to spend my life with her. Our relationship is based on many things (including love), it is based on our compatibility now and in the future. We have similar life philosophies that naturally revolve around a mixture of stoicism and minimalism. Neither of us want kids and we both want to travel a lot in our lives. We would like to experience new things, live a variety of places, enjoy recreational drugs, and only work when it is necessary. We have similar views on non-monogamy and what defines “cheating”. We both want to grow as individuals, as well as partners, and we support each other in our pursuit of things that may not interest the other person.

We also both realize that there may come a day when this partnership is no longer good for us. Hopefully, we will grow and change over time, bit that means there is the risk that we will grow apart and become less compressible. We both agree it would be better to end it and remain friends instead of dragging it out in the name of “love” or because we spent so much time together (sunk costs are everywhere).

I feel like she is my first true partner. She isn’t just my spouse, which is a title that can be given to anyone with the proper court documentation, whether the people like each other or hate each other, whether they are truly compatible long term or not.  My partner is someone who helps me become a better person, and I work to help her become a better person. Neither of us is a crutch for the other person, instead we accomplish things as a partnership that we couldn’t do alone. We are both “in good working order”, as Dan Savage would say, and we aren’t dependent on the other person for emotional, physical, or financial health. We could survive (and thrive) without each other, we just don’t want to right now.

So, I have a hard time relating to the poets or people who say things like “marry the person you feel an intense burning in your soul for” (I don’t know if that is an actual quote but I’m pretty sure I heard something like that somewhere). That type of fire is a fickle beast, it can burn out during a rain storm or it can rage out of control and devastate everything in its path. Human relationships should have a foundation that is more stable than passion, especially partnerships you hope will last a lifetime

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You don’t need passion

I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I have never really had any passions. Sure, there are things I like and am interested in… sex, drugs, travel, death, writing, science, philosophy… but none of those get me up in the morning excited. When entrepreneurs, artists, or whomever talk about how they are passionate about a subject or product I have now personal frame of reference. Nothing drives me that way.  I just can’t relate, and this lack of passion used to keep me in places that I didn’t like. How could I leave a place when I didn’t know where I was going?

There are two sides to everything, and sometimes when you are stalled out in life you need to look at things from the other side. Instead of figuring out what I was passionate about and pursuing that, I figured out what I hated and avoided those. For me, it was wearing a suit, living in a big city, commuting to work, going to an office, being bored at work, working more than 20 hours or so a week. So, I changed my life to avoid those things. The direction I went after that was inconsequential as long as I was moving away from the things I hated. The worst case scenario was the path I choose didn’t make me happy and I had more information about what wasn’t my passion.

I feel like I am not alone in this. Not everyone knows what their passion is, and maybe they never will have a passion, but that doesn’t mean they need to be miserable. Avoidance of pain is a motivator, just like the pursuit of pleasure. And, as someone said on Isaac Morehouse’s podcast recently, “motion brings clarity”. Motion literally gives you a new perspective on your life and the problems you are facing. If you are unhappy but staying in the same place, visiting the same stores, working at the same job, walking down the same streets, and hanging with the same friends, then you will never escape the rut. You may not know what you want to do, but by traveling or quitting your job (you should probably quit your job, most people should) or joining an intramural sport or going to Burning Man you will at least gain clarity on what you shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes the first step is to know what you hate and run away from those things, even if you don’t know what is in that direction.

Life is too short to stay idle. Even if you never find your passion at least you will have tried.

Strength, Passion, and Revenue

I have this desire to be an entrepreneur and an author, but I struggle with finding what areas I can create value in. This is especially true when it comes to writing. I feel like most of what I have to say is unoriginal or so niche as to only be applicable in my own life. Logically, I know this isn’t really true. I have received countless emails thanking me for the things I write about or share on Facebook. I truly believe that by waving my freak flag high I am doing good, but I am still a reluctant flag bearer.

I guess that is where I can have some value in this crazy world. I feel no shame about being who I am and, consequences be damned, I will share that with the world. I think part of it is noble, I am in a position to be open while so many people are not. If my words, views, or actions can inspire hope or comfort for others than I am doing a good thing. Part of it isn’t really that noble, I am just more comfortable living my life out loud, even though it may make some people uncomfortable. Hell, part of me enjoys making people uncomfortable, particularly if they are people from my past who have views that I find abhorrent. I think bigotry and close-mindedness should be uncomfortable. You should be called out if you want to use the threat of jail or damnation to control the actions of others and to force them into the closet. To be honest, I still keep a lot of my views secret, particularly political or economic views because I consider these issues to be complicated and many people in my social circle have unrelenting and militant views… it just isn’t worth the fight or the stress of reading their comments (which, makes me sound like a coward).

I don’t think my willing to openly (and hopefully logically) discuss my life or my views on controversial subjects like zoophilia, sexually open relationships, pedophilia, atheism, anarchism, etc is particularly marketable. People aren’t really going to pay me to talk about those things, at least not pay me in a way that will let me live the life I want. I don’t want a large income, I just need enough coming in to maintain my lifestyle of travel, minimalism, and leisure… so, about $800 per month at this point. My current job more than covers that, but it’d be nice to get an income stream that is automatic and not require monthly work.

So, given that my controversial passions probably won’t pay the bills, I have a couple of more conventional ideas for books about biking that could bring in some cash money:

  • A Guide to Adventure/Lifestyle Cycling for couples, families, and pet owners. It can cover cycling basics like maintenance, finding water/food, stealth camping techniques, finding electricity, maintaining a fitness routine, dog care, equipment we like, and such. It can also have some tips for maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner(s) while travelling.
  • A memoir about my solo cross country bike ride from DC to LA in the summer of 2012. This could also be used as a platform to discuss my life philosophy and lessons I’ve learned. I’ll probably do this regardless just for myself.
  • Children’s books from Higgins perspective as we travel the US (and world?). I’m not sure if these would be better as picture books for very young children or as short stories for Kindergarten age. Actually, I have no fucking clue what age children read what type of book. This would take a little research.

 

I don’t know which of those (if any) are the best option for creating a cash flow for me right now. There is a lot of work involved with each but I actually have spare time almost daily to work on this. I think I need to re-read 4-Hour Work Week and start implementing his strategies, particularly market testing, before moving forward with actual content creation. Though, I can also create these for myself but it’d be nice to prioritize the ones that could create revenue first.

PS: I am also kind of terrified of investing in something that will/may be a failure. It is easy for me to jump off a cliff and roll with it, but to spend my heart and soul into creating something only to be rejected is terrifying. This also has stopped me from exploring other artistic creations that I’m interested in, like music and charcoal drawing. Again, I know this makes me sound like a coward. I have many areas in my life that need work.